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Anterior Cervical Corpectomy

Overview

This surgery relieves pressure on the spinal cord and the spinal nerves. It involves the removal of bone and discs from your cervical spine, followed by a fusion.

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Incision

Created In preparation for the procedure, you lie on your back. You are anesthetized. The surgeon creates an incision on the front of your neck. The structures within your neck are carefully moved aside to create a path to your spine.

Eliminating Pressure

The surgeon removes the spinal discs above and below the damaged vertebra. The main portion of this bone, called the "vertebral body", is removed. For some patients, more vertebral bodies and spinal discs may need to be taken out. If bone spurs or other structures are pressing against your spinal cord or spinal nerves, your surgeon will correct these problems, too.

Inserting the Graft

After the pressure on your nerves has been relieved, the surgeon stabilizes your spine. Often, this is done with a bone graft. The graft can be made from a piece of bone taken from your hip. It may be made from bone taken from a donor. The surgeon places the graft into the open space in your spine. It may be secured with a metal plate and screws.

Other Devices

Instead of a graft, your surgeon may choose to use a device such as a cage. This is an implant that holds your vertebrae in the proper position. Many cages have an open space in the center that is filled with bone graft material.

End of Procedure

When the procedure is complete, the incision is closed. You may be placed in a neck brace. In the weeks after the surgery, new bone will grow and attach securely to the graft or implant. This will create a permanent fusion. You may benefit from physical therapy as you heal.